Monday, 31 August 2009

Completely vegan

VIVA's school speaker training day was a friendly day, bursting with information and meeting others doing the course who were veggie/vegan. I hadn't realised it would be led by Juliet Gellatley, VIVA's founder; am in total admiration of her and all she has done and is doing!
The day was split really into four main areas from which to talk around- Health and Nutrition, Animal Welfare, Environment, and Feeding the world. It also included an example of a cooking demo to include in the talk, showing a video (which we would play when giving the talk) and a very gorgeous buffet lunch with amazingly creative sandwich fillings!

It was a real pleasure to feel in the majority in terms of diet!

I came away from the jam packed day of information with a folder full of information and literature to match it which I'm currently devouring...

So I think by the time I've assimilated that, plus with some strong preparation.. I think I could give a school talk a really good bash. Isn't it always easier give talks on areas that ignite real passion? So, the main objective of the course is complete... the way it works is that sometime in the next weeks or months I should receive a phone call from VIVA giving me details of a teacher, leading to giving a talk to GCSE or possibly A-level students as part of Food Technology lessons or something similar.

On a personal level... from that day I am a proper fully fledged Vegan! That did it for me- got all the reasoning, I think the motivation for that last push had been lying dormant. I bought a small bar of DIVINE dark chocolate on the way home to celebrate! Seriously though, it feels GREAT!

Haven't got any pictures today. Think M must've taken the camera to Argentina. Never mind, the pea souflettes I made were lovely, but tasted much more gorgeous than they looked!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Greens are great! Today at least.

Isn't it amazing when toddlers embrace a food unexpectedly! I shouldn't even be writing this, it'll probably jinx it but they have just devoured spinach within tofu basil ricotta with wholemeal pasta spirals. It's like taking a mild anxiolytic (I imagine!!), the effect it has on me, when they are going through a good eating moment, or phase!

Have been stocking up on portable snacks (dried crisp bread, peanut butter, nut and seed bars, divine dark chocolate and soya milk) for M who's off to Argentina for a week on Sunday- someone described Argentina to me today in an email as 'land of steaks', sounds like it could be similar to Spain...

Before he jets off, I'm in London tomorrow to do VIVA's course on being a school speaker. Something I booked when the end of August seemed ages away; looking forward to it, hope I can cut it!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

catching up

Been meaning to blog; the boys go to sleep late into the eve these days which means its close to midnight quite often by the time I hit the sack after clearing up from the day. After tonight, the plan is to go to sleep soon after the boys, then start the days early...I love the early mornings though, waking up slowly, the peace.. and coffee..

I made bread from afore- mentioned superb bread book! It was an all-round baking day yesterday which entailed baking on a spectrum of quality! First, the boys had excitedly picked out one of those cake boxes you get in the supermarket- where it all comes in bags- and you are meant to add egg, mix everything, bake and ice. I couldn't say no and they excitedly made these 'Thomas the tank engine' cakes. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to veganise them completely; the mix already contained milk powder. However I did get the opportunity to use egg replacer (appropriately named 'no egg' by Organ) which I've had in the cupboard for a while. It worked very well. The boys made these cakes before at their friends house, and they looked identical. They clearly tasted as good too judging by the speed they were enjoyed! However, the sugar paper and sprinkly bits that came with them for topping kept them awake for even longer than usual.....

Making the bread took a few hours in all, not too much preparation time but lots of leaving, rising and proving. For some reason I harboured a misguided notion that the result would be a superb crusty loaf of the appearance you see in little bakery no. It is nice bread, very wholesome tasting, very filling. I took a picture of it this morning when M was cutting it to make a sandwich- into very thin slices because that is the only way to eat it! I slipped in some ground walnuts and golden linseed for the omegas, and coated it in sesame seeds. I really recommend the aforementioned book- it really lays the instructions clear, giving you the confidence that you can do it, and encourages you to customise it to your taste.

I did make some vanilla cupcakes on Saturday for a special gathering in Beckenham, topped with chocolate buttercream frosting, from VCTOTW. First time I experimented with piping- it was delicious frosting, and held it's shape.

Vegan holidaying

Its been a lovely Summer so far, with more wedding celebrations- my cousin J's wedding up in North Yorkshire- a gorgeous celebration in all ways- and then down to Seaford, my hometown, where we went to an evening wedding celebration of a lovely friend from school. In Seaford, we spent one night in a B&B- The Silverdale- which has a vegan breakfast menu. Very nice vegan cooked breakfast, as well as a variety of nuts and seeds on a counter, cereals, soya milk, and R was delighted to spot his favourite vanilla soya yogurt. Very friendly and relaxed place where we had all had the best night's sleep in an age, with the boys falling asleep to children's videos we found in the room. We were lucky that Summer was around during our visit, and we went along to Eastbourne, Cuckmere Haven, and Seaford beach where the boys never tire of the space, collecting stones and shells in buckets and throwing stones into the sea.